Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 20 Issue 01

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Volume 20, No. 1
Pages 24 - 25


Direct Access to the Sub-Vent Biosphere by Shallow Drilling

Jun-ichiro Ishibashi Katsumi Marumo Akihiko MaruyamaTetsuro Urabe
First Paragraph

Studying hydrothermal systems by examining the seafloor alone only offers a two-dimensional view of a three-dimensional system. Although technologically challenging, accessing the subsurface to directly sample rocks, microorganisms, and fluids beneath active hydrothermal fields is imperative. Conventional ship-based drilling seldom recovers intact the uppermost section of the seafloor that is most interesting for hydrothermal studies: the long ship-to-seafloor drillstring is unstable until it has penetrated at least several tens of meters into the seafloor. It is possible to avoid this problem by using a drilling system on the seafloor, although this, too, is fraught with challenges, including high temperatures, circulating hot water, and soft and bit-clogging sticky sediments.


Ishibashi, J.-I., K. Marumo, A. Maruyama, and T. Urabe. 2007. Direct access to the sub-vent biosphere by shallow drilling. Oceanography 20(1):24–25, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2007.76.

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